Petition for Guardianship of the Estate of a Minor in Illinois

By Anna Assad

A guardian of a minor's estate in Illinois is responsible for the minor's property and assets. The guardian invests, buys or sells property on behalf of the minor and for her benefit. Since a minor can't make financial decisions or complete financial transactions on her own, a guardian is necessary if she has or will receive property or money with a value over $4,999. A parent or other person, usually a close relative, becomes guardian of a minor's estate by petitioning in the circuit court of the Illinois county in which the minor lives.

Guardian Requirements

A potential guardian must meet state requirements to act as a guardian of a minor's estate in Illinois. A proposed guardian be must 18 or older, a legal U.S. citizen and have no felony convictions. Guardians must be mentally competent, not have a legal disability and be able to fulfill the duties of an estate guardian by maintaining an active guardianship plan. For example, the court might not approve a person who is often unavailable due to business commitments of his own.

Petition

Petitions for guardianship of a minor's estate vary slightly by Illinois county, but the same basic information is needed in all counties. The petitioner needs the minor's name, address, birth date, current county of residence, custodial parent's name and address, and the names and addresses of the closest living adult relatives. The closest relatives are his parents and other persons who have a form of guardianship or custody of the minor. If his parents are dead and no other person has guardianship or custody of the minor, the nearest relatives are adult siblings, followed by grandparents and aunts and uncles. A petitioner must provide an estimate of the minor's current estate value and expected annual income. Estate value includes all the minor's property, financial accounts and any income he currently receives. The petition must include the name and address of the proposed guardian and the reason the minor needs an estate guardian. A minor who is over 14 has the right to nominate the guardian of his estate. He must complete a nomination form that informs the court of his choice and contains his signature.

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Notice and Hearing

Once the petition for appointment of guardian for a minor is completed, the petitioner files the form in the circuit court clerk’s civil division office of the county in which the minor resides to obtain a hearing date and time. The court does charge a filling fee, but the amount depends on the county. The petitioner must give written notice of the hearing date and time to the minor's parents, the minor (if he's over 14) and other guardians if the petitioner can't get written consent from them to the guardianship. If the minor doesn't have any living parents or other guardians, the petitioner must give notice to minor's closest relatives if they haven't given consent. At the hearing, if the judge approves, the proposed guardian is named the guardian of the minor's estate and receives Letters of Office that show her authority.

Bond

A guardian of a minor's estate in Illinois must post a bond with the court. The bond acts as insurance against the guardian's performance. Illinois allows a guardian to get a bond through an insurance company or at least two private individuals. If the guardian uses a company, the bond's value must be 1 1/2 times the minor's total estate value. If she uses two or more individuals, the bond must be twice the amount of the minor's total estate value; the individuals providing the bond must provide the court with a list of their personal assets.

Considerations

A guardian may not be allowed to withdraw any money from the minor's accounts without a court order in some cases. The guardian is required to file an account of all the activity of the minor's estate in court at least once a year unless withdrawal is only allowed by court order. The account shows money received and spent on behalf of the minor, the current balances of all accounts and the types and values of the assets the minor owns.

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References

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